Samsung will hold its Galaxy Unpacked 2016 gala at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 21 to unveil its upcoming Galaxy S7 smartphone models, which have been the subject of a wide range of rumors since last autumn.
Samsung presently offers its Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+ smartphones in its S6 lineup, with its new S7 updated replacement models expected at the Unpacked event. The Mobile World Congress event runs from Feb. 22 through 25.
So what might be coming in the next Galaxy S7 smartphones?
In January, the upcoming devices were rumored to be getting main cameras that have fewer megapixels, while also potentially regaining previously deleted microSD card slots and water-resistance features, according to reports. Those rumors followed at least four other rounds of Galaxy feature reports in the previous five months.
The rumors of the possible reappearance of the microSD card slots and water-resistance feature also included reports of higher-capacity, longer-lasting built-in batteries than the ones used in existing Galaxy S6 models (pictured).
Galaxy S5 and earlier models previously had removable microSD card slots, while the S5 models were the first of the Galaxy series to be water-resistant. Both features were dropped from the S6 generation of devices. Batteries in the S5 and earlier phones were removable, but that feature was dropped in the S6 phones and will continue to be non-removable in the upcoming S7.
The Galaxy S7 Edge's screen size will also reportedly be increased to 5.5 inches, according to reports. That would be an increase from the current 5.1-inch screen on the Galaxy S6 Edge. The standard Galaxy S7 will maintain its 5.1-inch screen.
Both models could gain larger batteries, according to the rumors, with the S7 ramping up to 3,000mAh from its previous 2,550mAh unit, and the S7 Edge getting a 3,600mAh battery, replacing its previous 2,600mAh unit.
The main camera's reduction in megapixels is an interesting development for the next-generation Galaxy S7 phones. Both models will feature 12-megapixel main cameras, compared with the 16 megapixels found in the previous S6 handsets. At the same time, the refreshed cameras are reported to be better at capturing images in low light.
In December, other rumors flew that a pressure-sensitive display and a high-speed charging port could be built into the upcoming S7 handsets, as well as separate reports that Samsung might also equip the upcoming Galaxy S7 handsets with a liquid cooling system designed to lower the operating temperatures of the devices to increase performance.
Samsung is continuing to revise its smartphone models in hopes of finding a winning combination of features and prices that will help the company improve its financial fortunes against rivals, such as Apple, Xiaomi, Lenovo/Motorola and LG. Samsung still sells more smartphones than each of its rivals, but its profits and revenue have been under pressure for much of the last few years as competition has increased around the world.
In late November, Samsung replaced its longtime handset chief, JK Shin, in a move to shake up the situation. Shin gave up his day-to-day handset role to Dongjin Koh, who took over as president of the company's mobile communications business, according to a recent eWEEK report. Koh previously headed Samsung's mobile research and development department and played an important role in the development of premium devices, such as the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Note 5.
In October, other reports said the upcoming Galaxy S7 devices could come with a 3D Touch feature like that found in the latest Apple iPhone 6s models. Also possible is an extension of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ wrap-around screen to the top of the handset, in addition to its existing wrap-around sides.
In August, the first Galaxy S7 rumors began with reports that Samsung would give its next devices a processor upgrade as part of an Agile development process that is helping bring it to market sooner than in the past, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The potential replacement of the existing 64-bit Exynos 7 processors in the current Galaxy S6 smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors is part of an ongoing Agile design process that could also shave one to two months off the phone's typical development path.
Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+ hit the market in August 2015.